Tuesday, October 3rd, 2000 Fussen
I tried to send e-mails over AOL all evening up to midnight and again at 5 am, but no luck. Asked clerk and she said we were unable to connect a laptop from inside the hotel. So we’ll wait for Austria and try there.
After breakfast we walked in the rain until 1 pm. Went to the castle, Hohes Schloss that was closed until 11 am. Today is a National Holiday, German Unification, and so most everything is closed or opening later and closing earlier. But, we were able to get into the courtyard of the castle and see the wonderful paintings on the outside of the buildings. From there we went into the Baumgarten, a beautiful park along the Lech River with asphalt walkways; good to have on this rainy day. This took us to a beautiful woodsy walk, a little muddy but not bad. We were very glad we each had our own umbrella and had dressed warmly. I had my ear muffs on with gloves. Jim had his wax hat from England and we both had several layers of clothes on under our coats.
As we neared the waterfall area we discovered a marble road marker for the Via Claudia Augusta Road, a Roman Road. This same road crossed over the Alps over what is now the Brenner Pass. Eventually, after much up and down hills and several sets of directions in German; we made it the hard way through Bad Faulenbach (a small village with homes and Pensions) to the thunderous waterfall of Lech Falls. They were beautiful and well worth the trip! Reminded us of the ones in Switzerland. The water is very green so must be from a glacier somewhere under the ground. The force of the water was tremendous. Then we took the road…yes; you can drive right to them or take a very short walk from town by the road! We were back in Fussen within minutes. There we stopped at a beautiful chapel on the edge of town. On to St. Mang, the Benedictine Monastery, dating back to the year 830. It is now a museum, which gives the story of the Monastery, the history of the violin and especially lute making from 1562, and the rope factory, which was the main employer of the people of Fussen for hundreds of years. The chapel of the Monastery has a special painting done in twenty panels entitled: Dance With Death. The saying is that, “Say yes, say no, everyone dances with death”. Which says that from the pope to the child to the artist; everyone has to die. The panels were done in 1602 by Jacob Hiebeler.
After the museum it was 2 pm so we decided to eat our late lunch. We’re saving our sandwiches to eat just prior to the concert tonight which starts at 7 pm. Purchased some postcards and found that the larger ones need three postage stamps. Always something new! Hope the ones I sent with only two stamps make it! Jim found a small compass; this we’ve needed several times during the trip already. That and a magnifying glass would be terrific for finding our way on these roads and maps. Split a lunch at Pic Nic and went to our room to get out of our wet shoes and clothes. Spent the afternoon in our room drying out, watching TV, computer work and generally resting for the Musical tonight. The Musical is being performed in their new theater that is built into Lake Forgensee with views of two of Ludwig II’s castles. His family home (birthplace) of Hohenschwangau and the most famous of them all Neuschwanstein; used by Walt Disney for Disneyland!
The rain stopped about 5 pm. Still carried the umbrellas just in case. The musical was wonderful. Contrary to what the clerk said; we decided to go out to the theater about 6 pm as we wanted to walk around a bit. Well, when we arrived the place was already packed. Lots of people were eating their dinner there in several different restaurants within the theater complex. Others were enjoying drinks. We were allowed to go into the theater and set right outside our door to wait for the doors to open. Play was scheduled to start at 7 pm. We were amazed when the doors didn’t open until about 6:45 and everyone was seated and we actually started only about five minutes late! Then, at the intermission, everyone had to leave the seating area. They locked the doors and we were not permitted back into the seating area for 45 minutes! Another interesting thing was that the actors all had flesh colored mini microphones attached to their faces! The sound was great but they were very distracting when you looked through the binoculars! (These are commonly used worldwide today in theatres.) We did have some help with the language. Above the stage was a caption area with the substance of what they were saying in four languages: Italian, English, Japanese and French. But, as Jim said there were several punch lines that we didn’t understand. A very nice American family was seated next to us from Texas. The husband was a doctor who spoke at a meeting in Munich and they’d brought their three daughters for a short visit with them. All three girls were still suffering from jet lag and slept off and on during the performance. Jim overheard one of the daughters who was rather upset that the German’s assumed that they were American and always spoke to them in English. They were dark skinned and possibly that’s why. Rather interesting observation from a teenager!
It was a beautiful night out and we could see both of Ludwig II’s castles across the lake. Rather a fairyland quality to them with the lights on against the Black Mountains. Two of the best parts were when they had real white horses pulling his sleigh at night with snow falling. So real it was hard to believe it was make believe. Then at the very end Ludwig walks into a lake as he commits suicide by drowning. Then the lake reappears on stage as the fountain at Linderhof with the three Nymphs or Muses who are very instrumental to the whole musical. We were out about 10 pm and headed home for a candy bar and bed!